Cathay to Offer Business Meals in Economy? How Much Would You Pay for A Business Class Meal in Coach?

Over the weekend, I heard from a source in Hong Kong that Cathay Pacific may be introducing an option for passengers seated in Economy Class to purchase a Business Class meal onboard.

This isn’t really a new concept. For example, US Airways has long offered a DineFresh option, where passengers seated in Coach on an long-haul international flight can purchase a “premium chilled meal” for $20.99, as an upgrade to the complimentary meal offered to all other passengers. Of course, these chilled meals are not the same meals offered in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.45.33 PM

With many Asian airlines, a complimentary meal is offered on short-haul flights. For example, I was offered two options—a beef & rice option and a chicken & pasta option—on a recent flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Dragonair, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. In coach. On a 1.5-hour hop from Hong Kong to Taipei, I was offered a complimentary ham sandwich in coach.



Of course, this is just a rumor and I don’t have any pricing information. However, from what I heard, the Cathay Pacific option will not involve a separately catered meal; rather, Economy passengers would be served an actual Business Class meal. Since Cathay serves cup noodles for passengers still feeling hungry, this looks to be a quality over a quantity offering.

Most of the time, I feel that Business Class meals are only marginally better than Economy meals. They may be slightly higher in quality and be served in china instead of a aluminum or plastic tray. With many airlines offering complimentary beer and wine in Economy Class, booze doesn’t make a big difference either. Here is a meal I was served in Business Class on a recent trip from Taipei to Hong Kong.


Personally, I don’t think I would pay extra for a Business Class meal on a flight that serves complimentary meals in coach. Of course, this is without even considering some potential stares from other coach passengers…like “why is that guy getting real silverware”. Now…if only I could buy-up to a First Class meal…


How about you? How much would you pay to have an actual Business Class meal while seated in Economy Class?

Other Cathay News:

Cathay Trip Report Related


  1. Probably not as much as they are expecting. Half the enjoyment of a meal is derived from it’s taste and the other half from the surroundings. I wouldn’t enjoy eating a steak while sitting at a table in McDonalds. The enjoyment of paying up for a business class meal would be lost sitting in a cramped Economy seat.

  2. I’d do it and consider booking them over others if I had to fly economy. Would pay $20-$40 for it.

    KLM, Austrian, and I think Turkish offer nice buy up meal programs.

  3. Vegetarian options in premium cabins generally suck. I have had the vegetarian meal in Cathay first class and it was not much different from coach. I wouldn’t pay even one Hong Kong dollar for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *